Flag of Nicaragua

Nicaragua Economy Profile 2019

Home > Factbook > Countries > Nicaragua

Economy - overview

Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. Beef, coffee, and gold are Nicaragua’s top three export commodities.

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many Nicaraguan agricultural and manufactured goods.

In 2013, the government granted a 50-year concession with the option for an additional 50 years to a newly formed Chinese-run company to finance and build an inter-oceanic canal and related projects, at an estimated cost of $50 billion. The canal construction has not started.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$36.4 billion (2017 est.)
$34.71 billion (2016 est.)
$33.17 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$13.81 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
4.9% (2017 est.)
4.7% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$5,900 (2017 est.)
$5,600 (2016 est.)
$5,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
24% of GDP (2017 est.)
23.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 69.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 28.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 41.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -55.4% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 15.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 24.4% (2017 est.)
services: 60% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
29.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force
3.046 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 31%
industry: 18%
services: 50% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate
6.4% (2017 est.)
6.2% (2016 est.)

note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 8.5%
male: 6.4%
female: 12.9% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 47.1% (2014)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
47.1 (2014)
45.8 (2009)
Budget
revenues: 3.871 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.15 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
28% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
33.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
31.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by Government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; Nicaragua rebased its GDP figures in 2012, which reduced the figures for debt as a percentage of GDP

Inflation rate (consumer prices)
3.9% (2017 est.)
3.5% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
3% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
10.8% (31 December 2017 est.)
11.44% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.162 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.043 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.162 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.043 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$6.461 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.159 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$1.568 billion (31 December 2016)
$1.209 billion (31 December 2015)
$995 million (31 December 2014)
Agriculture - products
coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans, beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, lobsters, peanuts
Industries
food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining
Industrial production growth rate
3.5% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$694 million (2017 est.)
-$989 million (2016 est.)
Exports
$3.819 billion (2017 est.)
$3.772 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel
Exports - partners
US 44.2%, El Salvador 6.4%, Venezuela 5.5%, Costa Rica 5.5% (2017)
Imports
$6.613 billion (2017 est.)
$6.384 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partners
US 20.8%, China 14.3%, Mexico 11.1%, Costa Rica 7.9%, Guatemala 7%, El Salvador 5.6% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$2.758 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.448 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$11.31 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.87 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
cordobas (NIO) per US dollar -
30.11 (2017 est.)
28.678 (2016 est.)
28.678 (2015 est.)
27.257 (2014 est.)
26.01 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

Economy Comparison